Like any self-respecting modern family, my wife and kids and I have spent the past week gathered around the flat screen watching a marathon of Christmas flicks that range from great to God-awful.
Yesterday alone, we started the morning with back-to-back viewings of The Muppet Christmas Carol followed by a curious double bill matinee of It’s a Wonderful Life and Jingle All the Way. After regrettably selecting the so-so Polar Express starring Tom Hanks as our evening feature, we chose a nightcap all of us would enjoy: A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Now, I’ve probably seen A Charlie Brown Christmas at least three dozen times in my life, but this time was different. About two-thirds of the way in, when Schroeder is playing Beethoven for Lucy on what appears to be a cartoonishly small instrument, I was struck by something that I can’t believe I had never noticed before.
Schroeder’s piano is not small. Rather, he and the entire ‘Peanuts’ cast are members of a race of mutants at least five times larger than the average human being.
That’s right. You’re not looking at a miniature piano, but a full-sized nine-foot concert grand. It just appears tiny because Schroeder and Lucy are fucking giants.
I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way these kids are actually humongous monster children. But look closer.
Schroeder’s and Lucy’s shoes are as tall as surfboards, their torsos as long as a three-cushion sofa, while a standard golf cart could be enclosed inside either of their skulls. Schroeder’s fingers are the size of cucumbers, which at first made me wonder how he is able to play Für Elise with such delicate precision. Then I realized these gargantuan humanoids must have claws protruding from their fingertips, enabling Schroeder to lightly press down individual keys and avoid playing note clusters.
Still not convinced? Keep reading.
Snoopy, commonly assumed to be Charlie Brown’s pet Beagle, can’t possibly belong to any known canine species. He would tower over even a Great Dane, and looks more like some kind of trunkless elephant calf than any dog I’m familiar with. My suspicion is that Snoopy is actually a rare, albino ground sloth of the Pleistocene megafauna who roamed the earth over 10,000 years ago and were long thought to be extinct.
As for the so-called “doghouse” Snoopy decorates towards the end of the film, it’s actually a 500-square-foot two-car garage, roughly the size of a studio apartment in Manhattan.
Oh, and that wimpy little sapling Charlie Brown picks out while Christmas tree shopping with Linus? It turns out it only looks wimpy relative to the two overgrown rug rats standing next to it and the huge, multicolored spruces in the background. In fact, Charlie Brown is such a burly giant that he picks up what must be a 20-foot conifer with his bare hands and just starts walking away with it like it’s nothing. Incredible.
There’s more. Linus’ trademark comfort object might look like a ordinary blue blanket, but, get this, it is actually one of those massive vinyl tarps used to cover a baseball diamond during a rain delay.
And you’re probably wondering about that scene where Charlie Brown is trying to direct a rehearsal for his dumb Christmas play, but can’t, because Schroeder and Pig-Pen are rocking out while all the other Peanuts kids are tripping on acid and dancing around like hippies. If Schroeder’s piano looks tiny but in reality is a nine-foot concert grand, you ask, wouldn’t that mean Pig-Pen’s apparently full-sized upright bass is actually super-sized?
Well, yes, in fact. It is a ridiculously large double bass known as an Octobass, invented by the French instrument-maker Jean-Baptiste Villaume in 1850. Just how a filthy Brobdingnagian garbage monster like Pig-Pen got his hands on one of these priceless antiques is beyond me.
One last thing. While Snoopy’s friend Woodstock does not appear in A Charlie Brown Christmas, the twerpy yellow bird-thing nevertheless plays a key role in later Charlie Brown TV specials and needs to be explained.
I must admit, Woodstock’s biological classification had me totally stumped at first. There aren’t too many yellow birds in the world, and, though he’s dwarfed by that elephantine ground sloth Snoopy, he must still be seven or eight feet tall—far bigger than a goldfinch, for example. So, just what kind of creature is Woodstock?
Then, it hit me.
Case closed. Now you’ll never watch A Charlie Brown Christmas the same way again.